Here's the quote I want to go off of:
For the Christian, moral discourse begins by focusing not on the sins of the other but on one's own failures. "O God, be merciful to me, a sinner." It is the publican's humble prayer that is accepted by God, and it is the Pharisee—who is confident of his morality and the other's immorality—who is condemned. Moral discourse begins, as Jesus said, by taking the log out of our own eye.
At the moment I am falling on my face before God and asking forgiveness for being such a HUGE Pharisee in my life! In the name of "Moral Imperative" I am so judgmental! I sit on my throne of judgment day after day calling down fire on this politician's head, or that entertainer's, ridiculing this popular concept or that, criticizing even those I love who don't see the world the same way I do. Oh, God, why do You even put up with me?
I have such a huge plank in my own eye I think I need about four people to help me carry it around! I mean, yes, I know that there are things we must judge, and there are actions we need to speak out about. That's not what I'm talking about here. I'm talking about being Holier Than Thou about so many things and thinking I am somehow above it all because I am ... I don't know ... somehow "better"? Do I think that I am better than Madonna (who I rank one of the most immoral people around) because I don't sin in the same ways she does? My sin is no less horrid in God's eyes than hers. The only difference is that mine has been covered by the blood of Christ because I was blessed enough to have parents who took me to church as a child, and because I listened to the Holy Spirit's promptings when I was seven years old and accepted Christ as my Savior. I could just as easily have rejected those promptings. I mean, it's a classic case of "there but for the grace of God ..." It's God's grace, not my so-called holiness, that covers my sins and has set me free from the law of sin and death. Anyway, you get the point on that.
I actually wrote a comment on a local newspaper article today sort of "lovingly" slamming the writer who had written how we Christians should NOT celebrate "Easter" because of the connection to a pagan holiday and how we were invoking the names of pagan goddesses when we even said the name. Gasp! She WRONGED me, because she was being so legalistic! So when I read an article, also on ChristianityToday.com, concerning this very question (of whether Easter actually had come from a pagan holiday), and it said that this was a misconception, I couldn't wait to put in a comment that put her "lovingly" in her place! (I promise you, it wasn't as snarky as I'm making it sound, but, still ...) Why did I do it? I'd say about 10% so the atheists who LOVE to circle like sharks any religion article in our newspaper would have to eat many of their own words, but also simply to put her in her place because I don't think like her, because I thought she was being legalistic and "leading others astray"! I was TRIUMPHANT when I sent that comment post! HA! I thought. Shows you!
Oh, Kyrie eleison! Christe eleison!!
This is what nailed Jesus to the cross. My hateful little vindictive judgments. My Holier-than-thou moments. My "Oh, God, thank You that I am not like so-and-so ..." thoughts. And I know I'm not the only one. The "Good Friday Life" article is talking about this mostly in reference to our political activism, and we as Christian Americans are RIFE with Moral Imperatives. But it doesn't matter what anyone else does. What matters is what I do.
Dear God, this is not how I want to be! This is not WHO I want to be! Please have Your Holy Spirit so fill me with Jesus that He pushes ME out and makes me like Him!
Sounds easy, right? A "magic" little prayer and everything is all better? Ah, but God and I both know this is not even remotely that easy. It's certainly not impossible, since "With God all things are possible." But my SELF will continue to want to rear its ugly little head over and over and over again. The dying to self thing ... yeah, that's probably the hardest thing we Christians have to do. I LIKE "self". "Self" wants to be really comfortable and keep on living a cushy life here in my spirit and soul. But Jesus said I have to deny my SELF, take up my cross and follow Him. "It is no longer I who lives, but Christ within me ..." I have the feeling it's going to take me a loooooonnnnggg time to get to that point. But, Jesus, please don't give up on me, okay? It's the desire of my heart, my spirit, my soul to be there. Thank You that You know the REAL me, deep inside, and that even when all the other bits of me seem to drown it out, You still hear, You still know who I really am in You.
You're my only hope!